While scanning the latest fracking news from the UK, I came across these ridiculous quotes in a BBC News story from Britain’s richest man, multi-billionaire Jim Ratcliffe:
"I feel really strongly that the northern economy is really important to the UK, and fracking has been so successful in America - it's transformed places like Pittsburgh.“
Hey Mr. Ratcliffe, I got news for you, Pittsburgh BANNED FRACKING many years ago! Then you get yourself in deeper with this slap at the UK:
“The government was listening to "a very vocal, but a miniscule, minority of people, and I think there's a high degree of ignorance".
I have great respect for the campaigners in the UK, who don’t just go to an afternoon march or demonstration, they actually camp-out across from drilling sites for weeks at a time. And as far as ignorance, there has been more of that at the government levels where fracking has been promoted.
Then there was this sentence that sounds like it came from the oil and gas industry playbook:
"We've got towns in England which are not the happiest of places at the moment, so it makes me cross when people don't look at the science."
People have looked very closely at the science, and much of it is listed in this Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking which includes scores of peer-reviewed studies. The US states and nations who have looked at the science banned fracking.
Finally, let’s talk about my county in Pennsylvania where the Marcellus shale was first fracked 15 years ago, as well as three other surrounding counties. There are now cancer clusters, especially among the youth, from a rare cancer known as Ewing sarcoma. Some have died. Video: Ewing sarcoma update
While that cancer is considered extremely rare, with about 200 cases across the US annually, our four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania have already documented 27 cases over the past ten years. Statistically, that number should be just 7 or 8. There are other cancers showing up in school aged youth around fracking as well.
Most people in our area believe these cancers in our youth are due to our 15 year old shale fracking industry, which uses dozens of carcinogenic chemicals. Many frac chemicals are endocrine disruptors in those frac fluid blends — a large percentage of them being secret for “proprietary” reasons.
Add to that what comes back from the deep, black, radioactive shale; radium (Ra226 & Ra228), heavy metals, and brine many times saltier than ocean water. They were dumping it in Pittsburgh rivers on a large scale, ten years ago!
The ongoing buildout of well pads, pipelines and processing plants in our Pittsburgh area, part of which fuels your INEOS crackers, is destroying our region’s air, water and health. Please, save your rhetoric for those with a “high degree of ignorance” as you call it. And to further educate yourself on fracking in the Pittsburgh area, please read the new book “Amity and Prosperity - One family and the fracturing of America”.
And a history lesson for you as well, Pittsburgh had already recovered from the demise of the steel industry before fracking came to town. But as former Steelers coach Chuck Noll used to say,
“Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.”